Carbon price gone
Our Parliament has just voted to repeal the carbon price.
This means that from July 1 this year, 351 companies will no longer be under an obligation to purchase carbon credits.
What now for carbon farmers?
Carbon farming projects will have to sell their credits elsewhere – to the proposed Emissions Reduction Fund or to other willing buyers in the voluntary market.
The Emissions Reduction Fund is wrapped up in the Carbon Farming Initiative Amendment Bill 2014. It has gone quiet, but in the background, the Senate committee looking into this bill reported last week. The Government majority supported passing the bill without change – completely ignoring concerns raised by us and others – while Labor and the Greens did not support passing the bill. Window dressing?
The bill is not likely to be debated until the next sitting week starting on 26 August. So we have a void at least until then. Whether the bill will pass is anyone’s guess – Labor and the Greens are stiffening against, but Xenophon and Palmer have different kinds of olive branches. The $2.5 billion Emissions Reduction Fund will not happen for a while. If at all.
How determined will the Government be to implement its flagship climate policy? That is the question now the carbon price repeal has gone through.
It’s worth reminding what this means: without a consistent and stable carbon policy land projects to reduce emissions and deliver other environmental benefits will not happen.
What about carbon pricing now?
The carbon price has a long history in Australia, from the first task groups established by John Howard in the 1990s, to the Australian Greenhouse Office and the heavy lifting of the Department of Climate Change years. For the moment we are back to square one but the cycle will likely turn again.
What is disappointing is the Parliament was willing to repeal something without anything else in its place. Our politicians seem to be indifferent to having effective climate policies in place. Perhaps more disappointing is the lack of a broader discussion on environmental prices and taxes for the public good. We don’t see hysteria about other taxes. According to the Australian Conservation Foundation, environmental taxes fell from 7.9% to 7.3% in the decade to 2011.